Girls on Food

Friday Faves!

Take Me, I’m Yours Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh, NC

Recently, food halls have been popping up all over the country. When I heard Raleigh was getting not one, but two, my immediate reaction was “great, a glorified mall food court” because really, when was the last time you felt cool eating at the food court, amiright? But there are a couple huge differences at play here, so put your worries aside!

First, food courts are so often chains and standard fare. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is, for the most part, neither. Rolled ice cream anyone? Poke bowls, empanadas, and ramen were the first things to catch my eye. Cousins Maine Lobster (the only option I would consider a chain) is slightly more accessible here, and with a lot more seating options! The line is still out the door but with a beer in hand and a bustling crowd, a far cry from the hot food truck rodeo lines you’re usually waiting in! Last time I tried that, I was “red as a lobster” by the time I ordered my Connecticut lobster roll!

Raleigh Rolls rolled ice cream, which is a treat for all! (yeah, I shared with the baby!)

When you first walk into Morgan Street Food Hall, you’ll see a bustling crowd and tons of seating options, from picnic tables to couches and arm chairs, and finally, 4 top tables with chairs. There are indoor and outdoor seating options, with a couple bars to frequent as thirst arises. There are 18 dining options, ranging from southern to Mediterranean to Asian; comfort food and hangover food and on to desserts and bubble tea. For our family, this is the perfect place for all of our meals out: we have 2 picky preschoolers who think the margarita pizza at Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tapas is out of this world (and less than $10, thank you!).

For me, I get the “adventurous” foods I can’t talk the whole family into – ramen and poke bowls, while hubby gets to fill up on empanadas, which he loves! We have an Italian au pair living with us this year, and she has enjoyed working her way through the options Morgan Street has at her disposal. Currently, her heart resides in Raleigh.

I’ve now eaten at Morgan Street 3 times. Hubs and I met a group of friends here one night before an Umphrey’s McGee concert downtown. There were a lot of empanadas and some curry plates, a kick ass looking pizza, a whole lot of beer, and my amazing delicious tuna poke bowl, with fresh tuna on their California bowl (from The Bowls), loaded with amazingness and topped with avocado! It was incredible, and I couldn’t wait to go back!

So the next weekend, a girlfriend and I met up there, and she got ramen and I went back to The Bowls for round 2 – this time trying their spicy tuna on the Malibu bowl, which has spicy seaweed salad in it. The biggest difference was that the tuna was chopped up instead of chunks, so I would probably go regular tuna in the future.

We also ventured over to the bar, and I tried the Deep River Brewing Company’s (out of Clayton, NC) pumpkin pie porter, which was oh, so good and also very seasonal! It was delicious after a long afternoon of shopping and enjoying the suddenly cooler temps here in NC! Finally (maybe the first finally), we waited in line at Cocoa Forte Desserts for chocolate dipped cheesecake, which we were saving for when we got home, and then I talked my friend into trying out Raleigh Rolls, the rolled ice cream place! It’s a little bit Coldstone Ceamery (you get to choose 3 flavors that go into your ice cream, and then 3 flavors for the toppings) meets a sushi roll (because in the end, they hand you a bowl with 6 rolls of ice cream). So good news – you can sub flavors – I subbed in coffee flavoring for the graham cracker in my s’mores ice cream, and it was! Little man ate way too much but also thinks I’m the coolest mom ever for sharing my ice cream with him, ha! (Verdict on cheesecake – its on a stick, so go ahead and eat it immediately. I waited a few hours to eat mine, and it fell apart really fast. Pretty sure it was user error though).

So the next day, my hubs was still out of town (he went on Phish tour last weekend), and I needed to provide food for my little ones for the 4th day in a row. So…I started thinking about that pizza, and the fact that cow burger has hot dogs. Surely they could find something to eat…

Here’s the deal – I was nervous to bring a 5 year old and a 3 year old and a 5 month old into such a busy place. But…they loved it! My son is begging to go back, my daughter can’t stop talking about the ice cream, and the baby slept thru the thing. We also found an awesome place for our family photos in 2 weeks. So all in all, a great trip. I will send you all day every day to Bella’s pizza – it was incredible, and the kids ate every bite of that pizza. I loved the portion size of the burgers (I got the classic cheeseburger) and I’d heard great things about it, but I would definitely trust your gut on that place. First, the line took F O R E V E R which I’m not really into, and wouldn’t have waited in it but our au pair and I both wanted a burger so we stuck with it. Second, we waited F O R E V E R for our buzzer to ring. Like it took the entire time the pizza cooked to wait in the line and order. Then the kids ate the whole pizza. And I took them back over to Raleigh rolls and waited for someone to turn melted ice cream into frozen ice cream rolls, and then the buzzer sounded as I was paying for them. So the burgers were delicious, great bun to burger ratio, and overall very satisfying, but with so many faster options, I’m not sure I would wait for it again.

Also, pro tip – if you have a picky child who only eats vanilla ice cream (I know, I know, its super weird but what I’m dealing with right now), there is another small ice cream scoop place in the food hall. Don’t waste your $7 on plain vanilla with a tiny sprinkling of rainbow sprinkles. Spend that money on the whole experience and all the toppings, and get Sir Picky something from the cheaper place!

So final verdict – run, don’t walk, to the Morgan Street Food Hall if you’re in Raleigh. Bring an appetite. Check out the unusual places, especially the bowls, the broth, and curry in a hurry, and take the time to wait in line for Raleigh Rolls! I’m looking forward to heading down there again next weekend after the International Festival to try out some new places!

Slidebar in Fullerton, CA: Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce And A Cali Bandito Taco Make The Night Complete

In the north end of Orange County lies the beautiful city of Fullerton. While this opinion may be slightly skewed since I’ve lived here for more than half my life, Fullerton really is pretty. This time of year the Jacarandas are in full bloom so Downtown Fullerton looks extra gorgeous with all the purple trees against the old historic buildings. Slidebar is one of those buildings and is filled with musical history from OC. Memorabilia from tons of huge rock bands pepper the walls and give the place a cool vibe.

122 E Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832


Desserts After Dark: Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival

Desserts After Dark
Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival
Panther Island Pavilion
395 Purcey Street
Fort Worth, TX 76102

The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival is a three-day food spectacular including a BBQ Showdown, Main Event, Desserts After Dark, Rise +Dine and Burgers, Brews and Blues. The events are held at different venues in the Fort Worth area. I can’t think of a better way to end the week than by devouring a ton of sugar-laden delights. I headed over to Cowton for the festival’s “Desserts After Dark,” presented by the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation… time to enjoy something sweet and listen to some music!  Here are some of the lovelies. (My apologies for the grainy photos but it was desserts after dark.)


Friday Faves!: Good luck, good health and good travel

Here’s a wrap-up of the little things we can’t get enough of this week:


ACVAdmittedly, this is an unusual “fave”, but it serves a serious purpose. Last year people in my office were dropping left and right to terrible flu symptoms. One girl stayed sick for an astonishing four months. Her sickness fluctuated from mild to severe, but since her desk was next to mine, I needed to do something to boost my immune system that wouldn’t leave me feeling hungover daily. I did a bit of online research and found that Apple Cider Vinegar has a lot of health benefits. Just two tablespoons of the stuff works for everything from lowering cholesterol (well, okay…allegedly) to fighting off bacteria responsible for the common cold and flu. I sing its praises because while I watched my co-workers whittle down their sick time last year, I was able to cash out my days for a nice little Christmas bonus.

Not only is ACV beneficial to health but it also adds a tang to your food. What’s your favorite food to put ACV on? Let us know in the comments!



Image provided by Guidrr.

Problem: you are traveling to a destination you have dreamed about. You get there and do the ‘recommended’ activities. Now, what? You feel disappointed and frustrated. You want to pilot your destination as the locals, but that is hard to do without another’s insight. The Guidrr app is that insight. It allows you to walk in someone else’s shoes. The free app offers on-demand travel guides written by real people who have experienced the destinations themselves. The guides are purchased, downloaded and viewed from your mobile phone. It gives you an advantage: the advantage of someone else working out the kinks and you reaping the rewards of a well-planned journey. Problem solved.



JULIANNE– I found myself in Brentwood (Los Angeles) for a meeting last week, so I decided to take a trip into one of my favorite chocolatiers, Compartes. I always knew their chocolate was amazing (cause I could practically taste them after scoping out their IG) but when I actually lived in Brentwood, I had to be very tight with my money. Come to think of it; I had zero business living in a studio in Brentwood. What was I thinking?
I scrolled through the flavor options and decided to “treat yo self” to the Cereal Bowl bar. It’s white chocolate with Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms is my all-time favorite cereal so I couldn’t turn this down.

The white chocolate acts as milk, and I felt like I was having an elevated and concentrated bowl of cereal. It usually takes me about a month to eat one chocolate bar (I don’t really have a sweet tooth), but I ate this all in one sitting. Worth it! You can also find Compartes bars at one of our favorite candy shops, Lolli and Pops if you’re not in the Los Angeles area.

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Friday Faves!: The 5 Best All-Natural Oils For Your Face

I don’t know about you, but I get really excited talking about oils ? ?

In a day and age when companies market their over processed, chemical-ridden skincare products as “all natural,” “moisturizing,” “anti-aging,” and so on, it is nice to know I can depend on plants to save the day. ? As a vegan, I depend on plants for food, and they provide all the nourishment I need. But they are also the safest and most effective choice when it comes to skincare. For thousands of years, people used plants as medicine – and it worked. But today, consumers want eye-catching packaging, famous spokespeople, and great marketing. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Do your research and you will realize that none of those products are actually good for your skin, in fact, some of them are terrible for your skin and your whole body. There is one oil that I was recommended to use but haven’t included on the list, which is CBD oil. I have heard a lot of good things about this, which is why I thought I would give it a mention. If you are someone who is looking to give this a go, maybe looking at sites such as could help you save money when it comes to purchasing this oil. We all know how expensive skin care can be, so it will work out in your favour just to save a bit of money. If you are looking into using products like CBD oil, just like everything else you can get for your skin, you can’t just buy it in store. You have to visit dispensaries that have it in stock. Before you can do this though, you will need to be a holder of an ohio medical marijuana card (as this is one state where medical marijuana is legal). Do a bit of research into which states can legally sell this product and find out how you can get your hands on a medical card to allow you to purchase CBD oil. This is different in the UK though. There, you can purchase CBD oil online and here is a list of the best CBD oil UK citizens can purchase from these online vendors. I hope this works for you as well as the other oils did for me.

If you go to my Health & Beauty page, you can read my Be Beautiful Inside and Out series, that discusses what ingredients to stay away from and why, as well as the importance of picking humane beauty products that are not animal tested, and how chemicals infiltrate every part of our lives.

It is overwhelming to realize how much junk is in the products you may have been purchasing and using for years. I’m guilty of it myself. I now use all natural oils on my face each morning and night as my moisturizer, and my face feels like a baby ?

Here are my picks for the best five oils to use as moisturizers for your face:

rosehip oil

ROSEHIP OIL – Roses are good for more than just bouquets and smelling good ?? ? Harvested from the seeds of rose bushes predominately from Chile, rosehip oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. What does this mean for your skin? It hydrates dry, itchy skin, reduces scarring and fine lines and corrects dark spots. It’s a very light, non-greasy oil that has the subtlest smell of roses. I found this bottle of organic, cold pressed rosehip oil at Marshalls for 50% off.

Takeaway: if you suffer from acne scars, dry skin, fine lines, or any other skin issues, rosehip oil is for you. Even if you have great skin, this oil is the perfect all natural moisturizer. You can also use it as a hair treatment and on your nails.

oregano oil

OREGANO OIL – I’d heard of oil of oregano before, but never realized that oregano oil was different or that it was a great facial oil! In fact, it’s great for a lot of uses. It took me six months to figure out why I had suddenly acquired red, flaky, dry skin on my face. I have something called seborrheic dermatitis, which is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder. I wanted to find a homeopathic way to maintain it, and oregano oil was suggested as a moisturizer because it’s good for sensitive skin, but it also fights bacteria. I bought mine off Etsy, from a woman who grows the oregano in her garden and because oregano oil is so strong, make sure it’s diluted with a carrier oil, like olive oil or jojoba oil.

Takeaway: If you have skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, acne, or other fungal/bacterial infections, this is your oil. It can also be used for cold sores, muscle aches, nail fungus, joint pain, and dandruff. If taken orally, it can help boost your immune system, especially during cold and allergy season.

coconut oil

COCONUT OIL – Coconut Oil for President 2016 ?? I wish that were a real thing because I’d vote for it. Coconut oil is all the rage right now, for good reason. I’m a big fan of anything coconut and during my trip to the beaches of Vietnam, I couldn’t get enough of the fresh coconuts there. Case in point: I bought this little jar of coconut oil at the airport in Vietnam before I left. Coconuts are full of protein and fatty acids that nourish the skin and delay the aging process. And just like oregano oil, it contains bacteria-fighting properties. Sometimes I use coconut oil when I double cleanse and other times I use it as a moisturiser. I was watching a couple of videos of people incorporating Tea Tree oil within their coconut oil and I thought this was something that I would like to do. Improving my skincare is something that I always aim to do, especially when it comes to using natural products.

Takeaway: Another excellent option for people with psoriasis, acne, and eczema. A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way. You don’t need much; otherwise, you risk clogging your pores. I only use it a couple of times a week before I go to bed. It’s great as an all over body moisturizer (instead of using processed lotions), makeup remover, lip balm, and hair treatment. Also makes a great cooking oil, just make sure you’re using a different jar, so you don’t run the risk of any bacteria or germs getting into your food.

neem oil

NEEM OIL – I worship neem oil ? This magical oil comes from the neem tree, found mostly in India, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Neem oil is loaded with antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamin E that contain anti-aging properties. In fact, it’s anti-everything: antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Another great oil for acne and acne scars, eczema, and dry or itchy skin. Neem oil is pretty much da bomb ? I use it nearly every night. I buy the Alaffia brand at Natural Grocers.

Takeaway: All around amazing moisturizer for problem skin or otherwise. I always notice a definite difference when I wake up in the morning. It has a strong, bitter taste, so be sure to wash your hands after applying and keep away from your mouth. Can also treat nail fungus, ringworm, and athletes foot ?

booda butter

JOJOBA OIL Native Americans had been using jojoba as a skin and hair treatment long before everyone else got the memo. Due to its waxy substance, jojoba effectively seals in moisture while also blocking out external elements that can cause irritation and inflammation. Because it so closely mimics the secretion of the sebaceous glands in the skin, it helps reduce oiliness by modulating the sebum production and allowing your body’s sebum production to calm down. Jojoba can also penetrate deep down to the hair follicles in the skin and cleanse them, which often is the root of acne. I don’t have a bottle of pure jojoba oil, but I do have my beloved tin of Booda Butter, which contains a mixture of coconut, shea, jojoba, and olive oils. I use in on my hands every night, and on my face when I need a little extra moisture. About once a week I distribute it evenly throughout my hair, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wash and condition my hair. It makes my hair fabulous ?

Takeaway: Jojoba is perfect for oily or acne prone skin, or skin that needs extra moisture. Also great for inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Aside from the skin, jojoba oil can be used for chapped lips, dry cuticles, body moisturizer, sunburn remedy, and hair treatment ??


  • Always buy organic, unrefined, cold-pressed oils. These are the highest quality, least processed, and undamaged by heat.
  • Make sure it’s not diluted with any chemicals, alcohols, or unnecessary ingredients.
  • Less is more. You don’t need to slather a ton on your face or body. Small amounts have a great effect.
  • Store in a dry, cool place.
  • Do your research to find out if certain oils expire. You don’t want to use a rancid oil on your face ?
  • You can find high-quality oils for reasonable prices at places like Natural Grocers, Marshalls, Ross, the natural section of many chain grocery stores, Whole Foods, Central Market, or your local natural foods store.

When it comes to your skin, oil is your friend ?

Jillian ?

5 best all natural oils for your face

Friday Faves!: Girls on Food’s New Weekly Column

Welcome to our first ever Friday Faves! This is a new weekly column for GOF. In addition to smaller food reviews and raves, we’ll be shouting out our favorite upcoming events, entertainment we can’t get enough of, health and fitness trends, personal posts to get to know us better and much more.


The Groove OrientWith cheap drinks, an authentic atmosphere, and live music every night, Tanqueray’s Bar is a Downtown Orlando, FL staple. Dave and the other bartenders are quick to serve and always have a great suggestion. My favorite is their take on the White Gummy Bear. Usually made as a shot, they prepare a sweet cocktail that goes down easy. The Tanqueray, their signature drink made with the same gin as the bar’s namesake, is exactly as you would expect- a strong, crisp cocktail that gets you ready to dance to the Funk Rock beats of The Groove Orient. You can catch their unique sound at Florida music festivals, on iTunes, or other downtown dives, but the local band stays loyal to Tanqueray’s every Tuesday night.

It’s impossible to sit still while the guys are jamming on stage… Feel free to try and let me know how it goes! The electric guitar, drums and keyboard instrumentals in Dead Dog and Generation Y, the album’s headliner, are infectious. Your whole body wants to move and sing along to Harry Ong’s alto voice. Somewhere between a psychedelic melody and an underground rock show, The Groove Orient has found their sound and is making their mark on Orlando’s nightlife!


Leona cookie 2
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I’m making the move to Culver City soon! There are certain things about Venice I’m going to miss. One of those is the restaurant Leona, which I reviewed for GOF late last summer when they first opened, and, if you’ve been keeping up with food on the Westside, you know they’ve been doing very well with critics and locals. They expanded their business in a fun way by opening up a cookie window. I couldn’t resist trying both cookies and their scones.





Leona cooke 1
Brown Butter Miso Chocolate Chip Cookie with the Curry Scone

The Brown Butter Miso Chocolate Chip Cookie is so perfect for those who love a crisp, sweet and savory cookie. The Curry Scone may intimidate some, but the spice doesn’t overwhelm the crumbly treat. It’s not pictured, but the scone came with a squash butter, which was interesting to try. My favorite was the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. It’s the chewier of the two cookies, and it was my favorite cookie growing up, so I just think you can’t go wrong with it. So if you’re in Venice, CA, be sure to drop by Leona and grab a cookie, live a sweet life!



DAWN: At the end of a long week there is nothing I want more than to snuggle up on the couch with some yummy food and to eye-guzzle some great TV. Someone recently recommended I watch I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.

A shot of Florence, one of the subjects on Phil

Who’s Phil you ask? Well, Phil is none other than Phil Rosenthal the creator of the hit show Everybody Loves Raymond. He is funny, endearing and passionate. Originally aired on PBS, the first season is now available on Netflix. The first season visits six meccas of food and culture: Tokyo, Florence, Paris, Hong Kong, Barcelona and Los Angeles. This is not just a travel and food show. This is a people show. I cried, laughed and salivated through all six episodes. Grab your favorite munchies and tune in. You will be so glad you did.



SAMANTHA:  The app Cover could change the way diners settle tabs forever. It functions similarly to PayPal, but for restaurants. Although Cover is currently being piloted in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York City markets, the features are promising and worth the wait until it launches everywhere.

Arancini. Fried risotto balls. Soooooooooo freaking delicious!

I recently went on a lunch date at All’onda in the East Village, which I discovered on the app. Cover is pretty simple to use. When you get to the restaurant, check into the restaurant on your phone, let your server know that you’re paying with Cover, and that’s it. Order what you like, sit back and enjoy your meal. You don’t even have to wait to settle the bill, Cover, and the restaurant will take care of all of that.



All'onda 2
Fried Chicken with Calabrian Chili, Celery Root Slaw, and Blue Cheese.

There you have it, fellow foodies. Using Cover can save you time and unnecessary headaches and math calculations. Dining just got simplified…I kind of wish I had a Staples button to press right now (that was easy).






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See you next week!